Posts Tagged ‘Exams’

Of Commercial Study Aides and Exams

May 7, 2011

Something I don’t understand is using commercial study aides during open book exams.  During my con law exam, one guy had one book open in his lap and another open on the desk.  A girl was flipping through one of those laminated fold up study guides.  I recognize commercial study aides have a role in preparation, but I have to side with my old torts professor about using them during an exam.  As she put it: they’re the kiss of death.  I would think especially for something like con law.

It’s such a broad topic and we covered such a relatively little slice of it.  The Barbri outline for the class is 149 pages.  When I flipped through it, I saw we had covered about ten of those pages.  Property was a little better, but I’m sure we covered less than half of what Barbri thinks is important.  I’ve got to think that’s relatively typical of many first year courses.

What good is a study aid when most of it isn’t even game to be on the exam?  And what actually will be on the exam is likely only a fraction of what was covered in class.  So lots of times the relationship between the exam content and a commercial study aid is a fraction of a fraction.

Plus, a commercial study aid is written as the author sees things.  True, the basic ideas of any law school class ought to be the same, but every professor has their opinion as to what is important and how it should be approached.  That’s lost when a commercial study aid is leaned on too heavily.

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Thirteen Days Latter

December 21, 2010

So this is what it feels like after law school exams.

Just Can’t Get Enough

December 19, 2010

I’m not even having bad dreams about the right exams anymore.  My only remaining exam is torts, and it’s this Tuesday.  So what do I dream about last night?  Criminal law and civil procedure.  Those exams were a week ago tomorrow and last Friday, respectively.

For crim law, I first dreamed that there weren’t enough exams, and I didn’t receive one.  While everyone else was working away, I was waiting thirty minutes for another copy to be found.  When I started looking at it, it was sixteen photographs from around the world.  I was supposed to write about criminal law for such fabulous vacation destinations as the south of France or Tahiti.  I had no idea what I was supposed to do.  It felt like some sort of criminal law travelogue.  It was not pleasant.  And everyone else was busily working away.

Then, I found myself wondering about civ pro.  I almost want to say that was after I woke up from the crim law.  I was worried which question it was.  Was it the Erie question?  The personal jurisdiction?  Subject matter jurisdiction?  I never knew what the question was, but I know I was worried about what type it was. 

Maybe tonight I’ll have a bad dream about first grade spelling tests.  Those were never fun either.

The End of Civility

December 17, 2010

The civil procedure final was going to be three questions: one about personal jurisdiction, another about subject matter jurisdiction, and a third about the Erie doctrine.  We knew this.  The professor had told us.  Every civil procedure exam he gave was set up this way.  Three questions, three major topics: one question per major topic.

But, like they say, the trick was in the details.  Each question would have at least two subparts.  In the first subpart, the majority of the points would be tied to the major topic of the question.  But there were other subparts, minority subparts for lack of a better term.  These were over the ancillary topics we had covered.  Collateral attacks.  Rule 12 motion sequences.  The significance of dismissing for lack of personal jurisdiction versus subject matter jurisdiction.  Preclusion.  All sorts of stuff about class actions. 

Last night, the night before the exam, I was reviewing old exams.  These minority subparts were driving me a bit nuts.  There’d be one saying something like, Frank filed a Rule 14(b)(1)(iii) motion, which the court had denied.  Considering how this might impact his chances of renewing the claim in a different venue, or precluding additional counter claims, what should Frank do?  My first thought was, “I don’t know, go eat a sandwich?”  Seriously, I couldn’t figure out what the question was answering.  I don’t think the challenge of an exam should be in decoding the questions so that they may be answered.  I think the challenge should be in answering the actual questions.  So I was worried that I’d get to the minority subparts of the three questions and have no idea what was going on.

Fortunately, that wasn’t the case.  I even figured out what one of them was really asking, instead of what it initially looked to be asking (or at least I thought I did, time will tell).

Positive Thinking About Civ Pro Exam

December 16, 2010

Tomorrow in my civil procedure exam, and there’s something I’m actually looking forward to: it’s only three hours.  There is no way that it I am going to have another three hour and fifty minute exam.  Not that I think this one won’t take all the time allotted.  But it can’t take more than it.

Exams In Days Gone By

December 15, 2010

After spending nearly four hours taking the criminal law exam Monday,  and spending most of that time tapping away on my laptop’s keyboard, I could not imagine hand writing it.  My hand would have fallen off.  Yet, not that long ago, before the prevelence of laptops, that’s what everyone would have done.  Or, I don’t know, maybe people dragged typewriters to campus for the exams.  I’m glad I don’t have to find out.

Criminal Law: Done

December 14, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, my criminal law professor told us we’d have up to four hours for the exam.  “Ha, ha,” I thought, “like it’s really going to take four hours.  No way.  Never.”  That the professor also added most people usually call it quits after three hours didn’t change my thoughts.  Then, maybe last week, she added that it should take three to three and a half hours.  I’m a fast test taker, so again, I figured I’d be done before that.

I stand corrected.  It was a long, long exam.  It just kept going.  The first person didn’t leave until after three and a half hours.  Only a handful of people left before I turned my exam in at the three hour and fifty minute mark. 

But, I’m now done with criminal law, especially the exam.  It was closed book, and the one I was dreading the most.  Civil procedure and torts are open book, I have a much better understanding of the material, and I’m writing my outlines to guide me through answering the questions.  It’s already betting better.

Thirteen Days

December 8, 2010

Today was my last day of classes.  It’s exam time.

Exam Time

December 6, 2010

Tomorrow is the last day of new material for my classes.  There’s some review and wrap up on Wednesday; that’s my last official day of class for the semester.  Criminal law exam is next Monday (12/13), civil procedure next Thursday (12/16), and torts the following Tuesday (12/21).  Coincidentally, December 21 is the day I graduated from Purdue seven years ago. 

Criminal law is closed book and looks to be the toughest.  There’s just an awful lot of material to memorize and then apply.  Civil procedure and torts look easier, in comparison if nothing else.  They’re both open book and I’ve been tailoring my outline to guide me through answering the questions.

I just keep telling myself, with the curve, there’s a nine out of ten chance I’ll get an A or B.

First Bad Dream

November 30, 2010

This past Sunday night I dreamed about the criminal law exam.  It was not a pleasant experience.

It was fifty multiple choice questions (actual exam will be essay questions) in an hour (actual exam will be up to four hours).  I knew basically nothing.  I think I answered two questions.  For whatever reason, I wasn’t even guessing at the other questions.  And the subject matter was all over the place.  One question was what a set of control jets on the Apollo moon mission did.  There was a diagram.  This was one of the two questions I answered because I could figure out which way the jets in question would rotate the capsule.

In a way, it was a fitting start to the next exam.  It’s two weeks from yesterday, so there’s still plenty of time to prepare.  But from where I am right now, I think it’s going to be rough.